National’s small movement of the minimum wage is too little for the hundreds of thousands of Kiwis working for low pay and their families. The Greens would have immediately raised the minimum wage to $15 an hour, Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei said today.
The National Government has announced an increase in the minimum wage to $14.25 an hour. This represents an increase of just $2.25 an hour in six years under National, or $4,500 a year for a full-time worker. That compares to the $35,500 a year increase in the Prime Minister’s salary over the same time.
“The Green Party would immediately raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour and work quickly towards a living wage for all workers,” said Mrs Turei.
“Around 125,000 kids live in families where the adults earn less than the living wage. It is in the government’s hands to end poverty for working families and improve the lives of those kids.
“National is offering too little to hard-working New Zealanders in low-wage jobs. 200,000 working New Zealanders and their families would be better off with an immediate lift in the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Hundreds of thousands more workers will gain from lifting the minimum wage towards the living wage.
“Well-paid CEOs might claim that a fair minimum wage would cost jobs but evidence from around the world shows that is just not true.
“A higher minimum wage puts more money in families’ pockets, giving them more money to spend, and that creates jobs.
“Waiting for the wealth to ‘trickle-down’ to low-income workers has never worked and will never work; government leadership is vital.
“The Greens will ensure that New Zealanders are paid a decent hourly rate for their hard work and get enough to support their families” said Mrs Turei.